Continuing our series of blog posts examining the effect of the matrix in various business functions, today Kevan Hall takes a look at how the matrix affects sales and service delivery.

It is obvious that the shape of your sales and service delivery organization will be influenced by your customers.

Even in large global organizations the vast majority of customers are usually local. If you operate in these markets, particularly with strong local competition, you need to be agile and focused on local needs.

This part of the sales and service organization may be best organized through the vertical functional or geographic structure, probably with some form of regional coordination in global companies.

However, global accounts are becoming increasingly important, and often generate high levels of revenue and profile. They are increasingly demanding and expect a single point of contact to focus on their needs. Even large organizations need to align their systems and ways of working horizontally around the world to meet the needs of these important customers.

Many global account managers and global teams find it more difficult to navigate the internal complexity of their own matrix organisation than that of the customer.

We need to represent the views of the customer across many countries, business units and functions. When the customer has a problem they don’t want to hear about our issues in internal coordination – they just want a solution. We have to have the ability to make decisions and deliver them across the organization. Often it’s harder to deal with issues of internal cooperation than to deal with the external issues with the customer. Global Accounts VP, Telecoms, France

For these reasons, we (at Global Integration) see an increasing tendency to create horizontal organizations dedicated to looking after the truly global accounts. Whilst at the same time, local sales organisations remain based on geography.

Global accounts may be another area where a global ‘horizontal’ silo is the most effective organizational form – but at the risk of replacing vertical silos with horizontal ones!

People working in global or account management teams will need to coordinate with their local sales and service delivery people to provide a seamless service to their customers, so the skills of matrix management and matrix team working become increasingly is essential in these areas.

“Why not…?”

About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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